Travel Leaders Group launch the "Travel Helps The Bahamas" campaign
The North America's largest retail travel company is launching a major initiative in conjunction with The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation to encourage travelers to visit the unaffected islands
"The tragedy and devastation on the Abacos, Freeport and Grand Bahama Island have deeply affected the Bahamian people and everyone who loves The Bahamas," said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko. "We grieve for those who lost their lives, their family members and their homes and businesses and want to help in the best way we can to foster tourism to The Bahamas and minimize the economic impact on the country's most important industry".
As part of a fundraising and awareness campaign, Travel Leaders Group will match money donated by its advisor community through its foundations to aid The Bahamas relief efforts. Funds raised, currently totaling $36,000, will be directed to the Ranfurly Homes for Children, which provide a safe haven for Bahamian children who have been displaced because of natural disasters, death, abandonment or other unfortunate circumstances. Travel Leaders Group will also launch an advisor education and marketing effort to promote travel to The Bahamas for fall and winter.
In a previous statement The Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar said, "When travelers visit our islands, they contribute to our economy and ensure our people remain employed and our government has resources to rebuild. A drop in tourism to our islands would compound the problem we are facing and slow the pace of our recovery".
Travel Leaders Group is working closely with the tourism ministry to provide information to its advisors about conditions in The Bahamas through a series of emails and updates. On Sept. 25, Travel Leaders Group held a Town Hall meeting featuring Ellison "Tommy" Thompson, Director General of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. In attendance were travel advisors from Protravel International, Tzell Travel Group and ALTOUR. The Town Hall was broadcast live throughout Travel Leaders Group and is being made available industry-wide.
Deputy Director General Thompson noted that 14 Bahamas destinations highly popular with tourists are available to travelers including the capital Nassau and neighboring Paradise Island, as well as Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Andros, Bimini and The Berry Islands. In the Southeastern and Central Bahamas, The Exumas, Cat Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Long Island, Acklins/Crooked Island, Mayaguana and Inagua are welcoming visitors. He also noted that The Bahamas is an archipelago with more than 700 islands spread out over 100,000 square miles of ocean.
"Rest assured that our hotels and partners are standing by to deliver a memorable and meaningful vacation experience," D'Aguilar said. "One important way to help is to plan a visit to our beautiful islands and support our local businesses and keep our residents on the job".
"We are asking our thousands of travel agents in the US, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom to consider recommending The Bahamas as their clients plan fall and winter travel and let them know how they will be helping The Bahamas by traveling there," Chacko said. "Today's travelers want to have a positive impact on the places they visit and people they meet. This is one situation where travel truly does help".
"We appreciate having a partner the size and scale of Travel Leaders Group encouraging people to visit our islands," Deputy Director General Thompson said. "We are grateful to the many individuals, businesses and charities in our industry that have stepped forward to offer assistance".